Jason Starke, Ph.D.
TSB calls on government to fix ‘troubling’ aviation safety deficiencies
The Transportation Safety Board says it's "troubled" by unsafe practices in Canada's air travel sector and called on the government to take action in order to prevent serious accidents.
"The slow pace of movement to address safety deficiencies in aviation compared to other modes of transportation is troubling," the TSB said in its annual report, released Wednesday.
"The board will continue to push hard for change."The independent safety watchdog listed four major areas of concern : crashes into land or water; collisions on runways; landing accidents; and the lack of safety management systems at small carriers.In particular, the board drew attention to the fact that Transport Canada doesn't require small carriers like commuter airlines, helicopter operators and flight training schools to have safety management systems in place.
Together, these smaller carriers are responsible for 94% of all commercial aviation accidents and 96% of all commercial aviation deaths, the TSB said.Major airline safety flaws at Transport Canada could lead to more accidents: AG"The board is concerned that, in the absence of [Transport Canada] requirements, the passengers and aircraft of these smaller operators are being placed at unnecessary risk," according to the report.
The TSB added that Transport Canada has done little to encourage airports to prevent collisions on runways, of which there were 381 in 2013, and called for improved procedures and enhanced collision-warning systems.The annual report also pointed out that Canada lags international standards when it comes to preventing landing accidents and runway overruns.Transport Minister Lisa Raitt did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The TSB annual report comes one day after the board released its final report into the Lac-Mégantic derailment and explosion that killed 47 people last summer. It blamed many factors, but singled out Transport Canada for not forcing Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway to improve its safety record.According to the TSB's annual report, only 3 of 11, or 27%, of its rail safety recommendations have been addressed by Transport Canada in a "fully satisfactory" manner.
The board said it's concerned that there is no requirement for on-board video and voice recorders on locomotives. It also said further safety measures should be implemented to ensure signals are consistently followed by train crews and to prevent passenger trains from colliding with vehicles.In 2013, 1,067 rail accidents were reported to the TSB, up 4% from 2012.
Accidents involving dangerous goods totaled 144, up from 119.There were 275 aviation accidents in 2013, down 5% from a year earlier. The 57 fatalities was slightly higher than the 2012 total of 54.